15th Symposium on Education


Promotion for AMS Online Weather Studies at Del Mar College

Roger Steinberg, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX

A vigorous, and perhaps unique, promotional campaign for the American Meteorological Society Online Weather Studies course is underway at Del Mar College. Del Mar College (DMC) is a minority-serving, comprehensive community college located in the heart of Corpus Christi, a city of 300,000 people adjacent to the beautiful Gulf coast of south Texas. The majority of the residents in south Texas are of Hispanic origin, reflected by Del Mar College's rank as the 12th largest Hispanic-serving community college in the nation. The student population, which totals more than 11,000 full-time equivalent students, is about 57% Hispanic, 7% African American or other ethnicities, and 61% female. Many DMC students are the first in their families to attend college.

Our initial class of Online Weather Studies, which will be offered as Geology 1447, Meteorology, is planned for the Spring, 2006 semester. To promote this course, we have scheduled three meteorology-themed multimedia public lectures that will be given during the Fall, 2005 semester as part of the DMC Department of Natural Sciences Friday Science Seminar series.

Mr. John Metz, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Corpus Christi office of the National Weather Service (NWS), will lead off this series. He will explain the process by which the NWS gathers weather data and information and creates forecasts, and give an overview of the Online products they generate that are available to the public. The Chief Meteorologist at a local TV station, Mr. Dale Nelson of KRIS-TV, who has over 20-years experience forecasting weather in south Texas, will follow two weeks later with a discussion of extreme weather events in this area.

I will present the third and final lecture, during which I will discuss the Online Weather Studies course in detail, aided by illustrations of actual Online laboratory exercises. In addition, I'll show examples from other websites that provide weather data, maps, forecasts, satellite imagery, and radar imagery. Highlights of my week as a participant in the May, 2005 American Meteorological Society's workshop at the National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri will also be given.

Audiences for the DMC Friday Science Seminars, which usually attract a total of 80-90 people, primarily consist of DMC science faculty and students. Students often receive extra credit from their DMC instructors for attendance at the Seminars--that usually packs them in. We also draw students and faculty from the nearby campus of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Friday Science Seminars are well advertised in local media outlets, so some folks from the community may be present, as well.

As part of this promotional effort, we will also videotape the meteorology-themed Friday Science Seminar presentations and make them available several days later via streaming media on Del Mar College's website. This gives students who can't attend, because of work or other conflicts, an opportunity to experience the Seminars, too. Plus, we will show the videos on the Del Mar College Educational TV channel from time to time, which is available to anyone in the Corpus Christi area who has basic cable or satellite TV service.

Our initial offering of Online Weather Studies will be as a face-to-face lecture and lab course worth 4 credit hours. Lab will be conducted in a classroom with 25 Internet-accessible computers, allowing us to take full advantage of the near real-time aspects of this course. Down-the-road, we also hope to offer the Online Weather Studies course as a strictly Online class, perhaps with multiple sections.

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Poster Session 1, Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 29 January 2006, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall A2

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